A hysterectomy - in which a woman's womb is removed - is one of the more traumatic surgical operations, and yet it is one of the most common.
One-third of American women and one-fifth of British women will have had their womb removed by the time they reach the age of 60, and most have the procedure in order to stop heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB).
Despite its frequency, the advice is just plain wrong, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Evidence (NICE) has announced this week. Too many doctors still believe that a hysterectomy is the only way to stop HMB, and yet there are many other therapies that are far less radical that could be just as effective.
So, instead, NICE is asking women to find out for themselves all their options. In most cases, a hysterectomy is unnecessary, and pointless. Menstrual bleeding is as likely to be caused by hormonal imbalances, thyroid problems, or fibroids, and so can be treated with supplements, drugs or minor surgery.
(Source: The Times, 24 January 2007).
E-news broadcast 25 January 2007 No.328 [Subscribe]